lim college 75th anniversary commemorative piece

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  • 1940s LIMs roots trace back to 1939, and the decade that followed was filled with a slew of firsts and defining moments, from a dorm debut to a Vogue alum as a dean

    A CHIC START! QuizTime! Bettina Campbell, the schools first director of fashion, put students aptitude to the test with this ques-tionnaire. How would you have fared at LIM in the Forties? Write on one side of the paper only. For chirography analysis, write in your own handwriting. 1. Interview 30 people on their view of the hosiery situation today. Submit conclusions with your own summary. 2. Write a fashion column on Things Seen in the Stores. 3. Answer True or False: Teal is a color named for a large goose. Cleopatra painted her nails. Abraham Lincoln wore a shawl. Royal purple was originally red.

    timeline1939: Retail insiders gather at 45 West 34th Street on December 5 for an intro to Maxwell F. Marcuses Laboratory Institute of Merchandising. Their one-year certificate program teaches students tricks of the trade in faux-department store classrooms. Students register for classes on advertising, PR, window

    display, interior dcor, textiles, buying, and fashion merchandising. Dear Miss, In planning for the future, have you given thought to the possibility of get-ting into the interesting field of fashion merchandising and retailing, Maxwell Marcuse writes to prospective students. Turns out, 79 young women are game,

    and send in $400 for tuition. They will be among LIMs first graduating class.1940: LIMs very first day of classes commences in January! The debut school catalog reads: [LIM] is eminently practical, not only from the viewpoint of its remarkable equipment but also because its faculty and visiting

    lecturers comprise the most outstanding personalities in the world of retailing and fashion merchandising. There are 15 Bloomingdales associates looking to sharpen their sales prowess in the inau-gural class. LIMs first crop of teachers includes fashion editors, buyers, mer-chandisers, style analysts, and ad pros.

    1941: A course entitled The History of Retail Advertising requires read-ing Benjamin Franklins Pennsylvania Gazette. A haute blast from the past!1942: In January, The New York Times declares cotton to be the seasons cov-eted fabric, due to wartime shortages. The news breaks at an LIM-sponsored

    conference of manag-ers, buyers, and stu-dents, who discuss how cottons scarcity will affect both the bridge table and the ballroom. 1943: Stop the

    presses! LIMLIGHT, a student newspa-per, launches and is still produced today. 1943 1947: LIMs first dean of students, Venetian artistocratic heiress

    Madame Denise Dolfin, was a former Vogue-ette. Chic cred! 1945: Dorothy Shaver becomes Lord & Taylors first female presi-

    dent...and a major role model for LIM students. She rakes in $110,000 per year for the gig. Just call her the First Lady of Retailing. 1946: Hotel McAlpin becomes LIMs first official student residence hal. The two-room suites with bathrooms are priced at $1.50 per student, per day. Dorothy Shaver

    Hotel McAlpin

  • 1950sLIMs NEW LOOK!

    During LIMs second decade, chic dressing reined supreme! Also on the docket: a tony new location and much more

    Field trip, anyone? In the Fifties, LIMs student body begins embarking on plenty of excursions outside the classroom. The well-dressed scholars trek to places like the Good House-keeping Institute, the U.S. Testing Laboratory, S.S. America, the New York Stock Exchange, and even Yankee Stadium. We were right in style, for we had a box next to the first base, a Yankees-ogling student writes in 1951. It was great to see Joe DiMaggio, Gerry Coleman, Vic Rashi and of course that new dreamboat, Mickey Mantle. #Swoon. Lectures also offer vital information to supplement classes, along with the chance to be enchanted by big players in the retail industry. The head of promos at the Fashion Ribbon Guild reminds stu-dents about the importance of accoutrements, while Raphael Malsin, the president of Lane Bryant, shares details on how to run a plus-size shop.


    In the Fifties, hats arent just a fad for LIM studentstheyre required attire, per the schools wardrobe guidelines. In the 1950s version of LIMLIGHT, Dean Ann Spinney shares her disdain for repeatedly reminding students to attend school with their toppers in place. Chapeau power!


    1950: Viva la variety! LIM debuts a two-year certificate program for stu-dents post-high school, no prior college experience required. Year one involves a well-rounded mix of merchandising and liberal arts, while year deux lets the students pick a topic to study. 1950: Milestone alert! Over 1,000 students have now attended LIM. 1950: Looking dapper is important, as a student dressing guideline shows.Save

    your casual sweaters, your bulky knits and Shetlands, your black stockings for relaxing weekends, NOT LIM! Always keep in mind that you are a young professional woman and must look well groomed and well-dressed at all times. As for pants? They arent allowed. 1951: Maxwell and Mildred Marcuse have the senior class over for tea. Mrs. Marcuse shows off her crafty work, like

    a lampshade made out of a babys dress, while Mr. Marcuse shows off his magic trick routine. Hosts with the most, non? 1946 1952: Whos the new lass on campus? Edina Lewison becomes LIMs coordinator. The NYU alum graduated with a bachelor of science in retail-ing. Lewison got her big break folding blankets at McCutchersons, which was billed as The Greatest Treasure House of Linens in America. All of us should

    use a womans greatest assetsattractiv-ness, femininity and graciousness. Why not capitalize on them? she asks. 1953: Frieda Curtis becomes director of admissions, after six years of teach-ing. During her tenure, Curtis pens two novels, including How to Give a Fashion Show. She frequently organizes the an-nual fashion shows, keeping the hair-styles and silhouettes sleek and modern. A year later, she becomes the dean.

    1954: Calendar girls! Distressed by the chaotic scheduling of fashion events, Ruth Finley takes charge. The result: The Fashion Calendar. In its early days, the calendar is pinned on LIMs bulletin board, replete with theatre times, movie openings, and a spread of national and international fashion events, all scrawled in pink text. Finley still churns out the list of events, now bi-weekly, and still incredibly thorough.

    1954: LIMs annual fashion show goes global! The catwalk displays authentic garb from Japan, India, Poland, Holland, France, and Norway, with the United Nations as the background. 1957: A somber adieu to a style icon: LIM and the fashion world at large mourns the death of Christian Dior on October 23. His legacy includes innova-

    tions like the New Look, the Bar suit, and shorter hemlines. 1959: Nearly two decades after the

    schools founding, LIMs cata-log poses the question, What Are Your Graduates Doing? Theyre doing quite well! Many land positions as depart-ment managers, merchandisers, stylists, and executive training squad members.

    1959: LIM outgrows their 34th Street digs, decamping for a space at 677 Fifth Avenue with neighbors that include Tif-fanys and Saks Fifth Avenue. The school also says farewell to Theodore Muscles Pritchett, the professional boxer who became the buildings elevator operator. Pritchetts sad to leave LIM, considering he once said: Ill be happy at my job as long as the LIM girls are here to keep the joint jumping.


    Christian Dior

  • 1960sEXCELLENT NEW DIGS A charming townhouse, an influx of Twiggy-inspired miniskirts, and a chic summer adventure across the pond! All in a decades time for LIMs ladies...

    Students bid adieu to modest hem-lines and prim sweater sets during the swingin Sixties. Decked out in miniskirts, Twiggy is the role model du jour. As for the schools reaction? Well, the girls are simply adapting along with the ever-changing retail scene. Which is right on trend.

    Mad for Mod!

    April 16, 1962

    Very sincerely, Maxwell F. Marcuse, President

    Dear Student, Towards the end of the Second Trimester, Mrs. Bearn and I noted with misgiving a general letdown on the part of quite a few of our students in the matter of their all-important personal appearance. Foremost in the depressing picture was the absence of hats! Second was the matter of unkempt hair. The hat and the hair-do go together. One can follow fashion without sacrifice of desirable feminine traits and smart appearance. But when the fashion becomes a silly fad, such as the Cleopatra vogue, we expect LIM Students as future fashion merchandising executives to exercise restraint and adhere to dignified smart fashion. Keep your hair modern, if you wish, but keep it well groomed and under control. You must wear hats. No flimsies, whimsies, ribbons, [or] other makeshifts will be acceptable. And this applies to so-called hats you can slip in and out of your pocketbooks. We expect your full cooperation. Of course, we realize that some of you have consistently worn suitable hats and looked smartly groomed.

    Smells Like LIM Spirit There werent any any sports teams to ratchet up school spirit, but it was easy to get jazzed about LIM. The student council threw fall mixers, big sister/little sister teasand winter for-mals, where Miss LIM was crowned. The result? A sense of camaraderie amongst students, bien sr!

    1960: LIM kicks off the decade with a higher tuition. The cost? Just over $1,000.1962: Dont forget that dress code, darlings! The student body gets a presidential reminder to look chic. 1962: Maxwell Marcuse recruits his

    son, Adrian, to join LIM. By fall of 1962, the school welcomes the younger Marcuse as the VP.1964: Time to celebrate!